Real State

Millennials Have the Children, but Boomers Have the Houses

Have you been dreaming of a three-bedroom home? You’re probably a millennial, the generation now likeliest to be raising children. You’re also probably still dreaming, according to the data.

A recent analysis by Redfin found that empty nesters — that is, baby boomer households with no children in the home — own 28 percent of the nation’s large homes (those with three or more bedrooms). Millennial households with children own half as many, about 14 percent. It makes sense — boomers have had more time to save and buy, and were able to do so during an era of lower prices and higher inventory.

Still, that’s a lot of empty bedrooms. And the disparity persists despite the fact that millennials (aged 26 to 41) now outnumber boomers, making up 28 percent of the U.S. population. Boomers (aged 58 to 76) account for 27 percent.

Among the other generations, Gen X-ers (aged 42 to 57, making up 24 percent of the population) with children own 12 percent of larger homes, while Gen Z households (aged 19 to 25, with 12 percent of the population) with children own just 0.2 percent.

The study analyzed 2022 American Community Survey census data, the newest available. Among the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, the share of large homes owned by empty nesters versus millennials with children varied — but the millennial share didn’t reach 18 percent in any metro, while empty nesters owned at least 20 percent of large homes everywhere.

For empty nesters who wish to downsize, it just doesn’t make as much financial sense these days. Over half of them have paid off their mortgages, leaving a monthly payment that’s hard to beat. And who wants to pay today’s high home prices and interest rates?

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